Earlier this month, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an interesting opinion illuminating the jurisdictional issues that can arise in personal injury cases. In the case, Hodge v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, the plaintiff was a woman who was injured when she was struck by a vehicle insured by State Farm.
After the accident, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit in a district court. In Michigan, as in Indiana and many other states, the court system is broken down according to several factors, one of which is the “amount in controversy,” or the amount sought by the plaintiff. In this case, the plaintiff was seeking $25,000, which was the upper limit of a Michigan district court.
At trial, the plaintiff presented evidence of damages far in excess of the $25,000. State Farm attempted to prevent the plaintiff from presenting this evidence, arguing that it wasn’t proper because the limit she could recover was $25,000. The court denied the request and allowed all of the plaintiff’s evidence of injuries. After the trial, she was awarded roughly $85,000, and the court then reduced the recovery amount to the jurisdictional limit of $25,000.
State Farm appealed, arguing that the verdict was improper due to the fact that the evidence should not have been presented and also that the court should not have heard the case in the first place because the plaintiff had proof of more than $25,000 in damages. However, the appellate court held that the verdict was proper. The court explained that the jurisdictional limit was to be based on the ultimate recovery amount sought, rather than how much could be proven with the evidence the plaintiff planned on submitting to the court.
The Indiana Court System
Each state’s court system is a little different. In Indiana, there are three different trial courts, including city or town courts, circuit courts, and superior courts. Depending on the location where the accident occurred and the amount sought, a plaintiff may choose to file her case in one of the several courts. In some cases, a single court has exclusive jurisdiction over certain types of claims. It is very important to discuss your case with a dedicated attorney before proceeding with any kind of Indiana personal injury case.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any kind of Indiana car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Depending on the type of claim you plan to file, there may be certain procedural hurdles you must first overcome. A failure to comply with these rules could result in a lengthy delay or the premature dismissal of an otherwise meritorious case. Call the skilled personal injury lawyers at the Indiana law firm of Parr Richey Obremskey Frandsen & Patterson at 888-532-7766 to set up your free consultation. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Man Injured by Faulty Handrail Denied Compensation Based on Incomplete Negligence Claim, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, June 27, 2016
Girl Struck by Car While Boarding School Bus Seeks Recovery from Bus Driver’s Insurance Company, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, June 3, 2016